I have never read any of Richelle Mead’s novels, of which she has many, but I had the extreme pleasure of being able to review the first and second issues of the comic adaptation of her Dark Swan series, called Storm Born. I was blown away!  Mead is best known for her supernatural novels including the Georgina Kincaid Succubus series and Vampire Academy, the latter of which is Young Adult material.  With overt sexual situations and violence, Storm Born, however, is less friendly for younger audiences.   Mature readers should definitely check this series out, as issue #1 released on the first of this month and is available for order at most comic stores.

Richelle Mead’s Storm Born, from Sea Lion Books, is an exciting, supernatural romp through modern day America.  Adapted from her Dark Swan novel series by herself and Grant Alter, the story seems like an updated response to Lucas’ male-centric, Indiana Jones stories, but with a healthy dose of paranormal mystery.  We follow Eugenie Markham, a freelance Shaman who makes a living sending various creatures attempting to inhabit our world back to the occult realm, called the Otherworld.  Equipped with knowledge of magic, several enchanted weapons, and a wicked sense of humor, she travels the southwest battling spirits, elemental creatures, powerful fairy-like beasts called Gentry, and anything else that crosses her path.  Though I’ve only read the first two issues of what will be an eight-issue series, eventually collected into two graphic novels, I am already completely invested in the world that Mead has created.

Dear Fanboy Comics Readers:

The Staff of Fanboy Comics is excited to announce a big distribution deal this week in the independent comic book publishing world.  Publishers Group West (PGW), a member of the Perseus Books Group, will begin distributing both front and back list titles from up-and-coming independent graphic novel publisher Archaia Entertainment, LLC.  

Archaia is widely known throughout the graphic novel community for producing visually stunning works that seek to transform the mind, with titles including Mouse Guard, Dapper Men, The Killer, and the entire line of The Jim Henson Company graphic novels.  As reported by Ain’t It Cool News, it was named Graphic Novel Publisher of the Year and received nine Eisner Award nominations in 2011.  Archaia’s domestic and international successes will continue to find large audiences, as PGW is set to distribute the titles to the U.S. and Canada.  According to Archaia CEO PJ Bickett, “We are proud to be forging powerful partnerships with industry leaders in all aspects of our business, underscoring Archaia’s arrival as a substantial player within the publishing world.  PGW represents our newest prestigious partner, a world-class distributor that has the unique ability to expand our company’s titles across the book trade, educational, library, and international markets.”

So, David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman TV show wasn’t picked up by NBC. Who cares?  We all saw the costume. Do you honestly think we would have seen some quality stories coming from that production?  As a Wonder Woman fan, I would love to see some more appreciation for the Themyscirian princess, but not like that . . . (*whispers* not like that).  Nothing like what the show looked like it was going to be but now is not (thank Zeus) IS the graphic novel The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka. [Editor’s note: Is this even a sentence?]  Rucka delivers an incredibly moving stand-alone comic that finds Diana Prince as she should be: powerful, kind, and beautiful, yet as an ambassador to modern day America from the ancient island of Themyscira, hopelessly mired between the rituals of the past and present.

With Issue #44, IDW’s Angel series comes to a close. IDW has taken the vampire with a soul through a multitude of adventures during their time with him, some good and some less than good. While the final issue of Angel is not exactly the pulse-pounding ending the series deserves (and some of that can be blamed on Dark Horse’s snatching of the license), they do manage to deliver something the tortured lead character is not necessarily used to: a sense of hope.

SPOILERS BELOW


Here’s a quick summary of Issue #44:

While Connor attempts to use his unusual powers to save Anne from the demon baby growing inside her, Laura channels her anger over the death of Mr. Polyphemus into a protection spell that is barely holding off the epically evil James. Just when all seems lost, a portal opens courtesy of the future version of Illryia, and our hero Angel comes jumping through.

James and Angel trade punches until James gains the upper hand. Using the vanishing gem provided by Darrow, Angel is able to momentarily immobilize James, but a twist of fate knocks the gem from Angel’s hand, sending it through a portal to the farthest point of the outer realms, or as James calls it, home. With the help of Connor and his new super powers, James is defeated and the demon inside Anne is born without killing her.


Back at the new offices of Angel Investigations, the team reflects and bonds over the events of the previous issues. Angel makes a final stop at Wolfram & Hart’s white room to make it clear that he’ll always be there to stand in their way. And even if he’s not, Connor is following in those footsteps. In the final shot of the series, Angel does his trademark exit down an alley as he contemplates Doyle, Cordy, Wes, and his other fallen friends. They’ve always been and continue to be his reason to keep fighting. It’s time to get back to work.

Invincible #68 just came out, and boy is it great.  Robert Kirkman’s Invincible is, by far, the best comic series currently running.

 

For those of you unaware of Invincible, here is a quick recap:  Mark Grayson is your typical, teenage boy dealing with all of the usual problems including school, girls, and growing up.  That is where the normalcy ends.  His father is Omni-Man, an alien who came to Earth and became its greatest hero.  The series started just before Mark’s own powers began manifesting.

 

The series is notorious for being a pastiche of iconic comic book characters and playing with the usual conventions of the medium.  Omni-Man is an obvious nod towards Superman, and his team of superheroes strikes a strong resemblance to the Justice League.

Buffy Season Eight has been a long, ambitious journey, but, as with all seasons, it has come to an end.  As with other well-constructed shows, the previous seasons of Buffy featured overarching themes that were revisited in each season’s finale.   While Buffy has struggled to convince its fan base that this was still possible in Buffy's venture into comics, Season Eight and its messages can now be viewed as a whole.  While not flawless, the season remained a major accomplishment for the Buffy team and gave a Whedonish view of what happens when you change the world and how, despite good intentions, no one can completely hold onto the mantel of hero or villain when operating on a global level.

 

SPOILERS BELOW

 

Eulogy for a Fallen Watcher

 

Once again, we gather to bury a fallen member of the Watcher’s Council.

 

Once again, we gather to bury a fallen friend in the never-ending fight against evil.

 

Rupert Giles was an extraordinary man, but he would not want to be remembered as such. He would not want us to remember the feats that he accomplished, the lives he saved, or how many times he played a vital role in saving our world. Instead, he would want us to remember what a dangerous life all watchers, slayers, and other soldiers in the good fight lead, and how he felt lucky to have the wealth of time that he did.

 

IDW’s Angel books have been giving me a buzz lately. That kind of shimmering excitement you’d feel as a kid when there were only two weeks left in school. The anticipation of IDW’s wrap-up is enormous and rides on three story lines (the flagship Angel series, Brian Lynch’s brilliant Spike mini-series, and the Illyria: Haunted mini-series) that will bridge the gap between IDW’s Angel timeline and Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy Season Eight. The final issue of Illyria: Haunted has arrived, and, while the mini-series itself has both moments of greatness and weakness, IDW has done a solid job of advancing the story of an interesting and difficult character.

SPOILERS BELOW

 

After a great issue last month and the excitement of the coming ties to Dark Horse's Buffy Season Eight, I want to say good things about issue #42 of Angel.  Sadly, this issue seems to slow the pace of the story.  In addition, it contains writing that feels off for certain characters, leaving this reader feeling as if IDW has given us a filler issue when they should be making the best use of their time left with Angel.  Still, there are some interesting things going on and a fairly surprising cliffhanger, so, perhaps, this issue will end up being the wind up for IDW's final punch.

 

SPOILERS BELOW

 

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